Apple Cake Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on October 20, 2016

accidental-locavore-slice-of-apple-cakeThe idea of a fruit CSA had its appeal.

Apples and other fresh fruit, weekly when we picked up our regular CSA share at Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

Shared with friends since the Accidental Locavore knew 8 pounds of fruit was going to be too much.

Even 4 pounds is a lot of fruit, but this delicious apple cake will take six of them off your hands.

I’d seen this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and then my cousin called raving about this great apple cake she’d made. She was right!

accidental-locavore-apple-cakeApple Cake Recipe

For the apples:

  • 6 apples, McIntosh or whatever looks good
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons white or light brown sugar

For the cake:

  • 2 3/4 cups (360 grams) flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    1 cup vegetable oil (or mix of butter, olive oil etc.)
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    4 large eggs

accidental-locavore-apples-for-apple-cakeHeat oven to 350°. Butter a tube pan (angel food, bundt).

Peel, core and chop apples into 1-inch chunks. Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs.

Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

accidental-locavore-apple-cake-assemblyPour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Great apple cake! After we devoured a couple of slices of it, I cut it in quarters and stuck most of it in the freezer. Two days later, most of it has already been pulled from the freezer (not to worry, got more apples from the CSA). Slightly warmed up, it makes a great breakfast too! Now I’ve made it twice and it still hasn’t lasted a week.

I used a combo of McIntosh and Macon’s which worked well, you probably want to avoid the mushier apples like Delicious. Since we’re not an orange juice drinking household, I just bought an orange and juiced half of it.

The recipe calls for a cup of vegetable oil and suggests that you can use olive or coconut oil and/or butter. Because butter makes everything better, I used one stick of butter, melted and topped it off with vegetable oil. Might try an olive oil-butter mix the next time.

Update: Because of the plethora of apples, I ended up making this about five times. Olive oil was the least successful batch so I went back to butter and vegetable oil. Everyone who has made this or tasted it loves it. Give it a shot.

Feeling guilty? Click here and get 34 science-backed health benefits of apples.




Escarole Recipe: Try This Easy Escarole Salad

by Anne Maxfield on July 7, 2016

Accidental Locavore Escarole Salad RecipeI hate gritty produce.

At the CSA pick-up recently, one of the things Frank brought home was a beautiful head of escarole. It’s something I always like, both cooked and raw, but tend to avoid because it needs careful washing and sometimes I’m just not in the mood (you know what I mean?).

After a leisurely bath and a thorough shower (the escarole, not the Accidental Locavore), it was ready for a simple escarole salad recipe I’d seen in bon appètit. This served 6:

  • ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 6 cups torn escarole (from about 2 heads)
  • 2 tablespoons rinsed capers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup shaved peeled horseradish (or prepared horseradish)

Soak onion in a small bowl of ice water at least 30 minutes (you can do this while the escarole is soaking). Drain and pat dry.

Whisk crème fraîche, oil, lemon juice, and vinegar in a large bowl. Add escarole, capers, and drained onion; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Top salad with horseradish and season with more pepper, serve and enjoy!

Finished Escarole RecipeMy verdict: This escarole salad was made for dinner with friends. Because there wasn’t a scrap left, it proved to be a big hit. Super simple and really delicious! While the summer may be peak time for escarole, it’s not for fresh horseradish, which becomes a small problem. Imagine how much better this could be with the punch you’d get from fresh (or fresher than what I had) horseradish!

Instead of soaking the onions (which I do a lot these days with raw onions) I had made some pickled red onions and used those instead.

The dressing I made separately so I could do it ahead of time. Check it for taste, remembering that it’s going on bitter greens so you might want to add a bit more crème fraîche and adjust the horseradish accordingly.

It’s a great dressing and would work well on a lot of different greens. Grilled radicchio anyone?







What’s Your Most Hated Vegetable?

by Anne Maxfield on June 13, 2016

Accidental Locavore Crushed BeetsThe Accidental Locavore is not a fan of beets. Let me be honest here…I despise beets!

I will not eat them cooked.

I will not eat them raw.

I will not eat them borshted.

I will not eat them pickled.

I will not eat them red.

I will not eat them golden (and I will hate you for trying to make them look like edible vegetables!).

I do not like the color.

I do not like the smell.

Somewhere in my childhood, something traumatic must have happened with beets. If you ask my brother or my dad they’ll give you the same response: “Might as well eat dirt.”

My mother when quizzed, takes no responsibility for this family-wide disgust. Instead when asked, she tried to deflect it to her two sisters. I can count the number of meals I’ve had cooked by either of them on the fingers of one hand (probably with fingers to spare, but I won’t exaggerate), so I really doubt they have anything to do with it. Sorry Mom.

Accidental Locavore Beets for RoastingThe ironic side of this tale is that I am married to a man who loves beets as much as I loathe them.

When they come up in my CSA what do I do?

Trying not to inhale, I cut the tops off leaving about an inch of green (supposedly this keeps them from “bleeding” too much), wash them and wrap each beet in aluminum foil (drizzle a little olive oil on if you’d like, star anise, orange juice and peel for getting fancy).

Toss them on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes (depending on size) until they are tender. When they’ve cooled off enough to touch, the skins should slip right off.

Then it’s up to the person who likes them to chill and slice up in a salad with goat cheese, or while still warm “pickle” them by quartering them and tossing with some red wine vinegar and chopped red onion. Chill or cool to room temperature. Serve and enjoy.

Accidental Locavore Farm Box Week 3

Do you have a vegetable you won’t eat under any circumstances? What is it?



Adventures With My New Canner

by Anne Maxfield on August 3, 2015

Accidental Locavore Ready to CanYou may remember that a couple of months ago, the Accidental Locavore was sent one of the new Ball freshTech Electric Water Bath Canner and Multi Cookers, but I hadn’t had a chance to put it through its paces. This week at the CSA we were encouraged to pick as many green beans as we wanted, which seemed to be the perfect “test drive” for the canner. I’ve always loved dilly beans, and with dill growing abundantly in the next row at the farm, and my own garlic just getting harvested, it was time to get busy!

Accidental Locavore Green Beens for CanningOne of the reasons Ball created the canner (and a big selling point), was that they wanted to make canning accessible for everyone. And they did. Trust me, the hardest thing about the canner is finding a place to put it — after that, everything is a snap!
Because Ball was being very generous they included dozens of jars, too, so I was all set. To start, you wash the jars, rinse them and put them in the machine. Fill with water to top them, add the lid and wait for the machine to bring the water to a simmer. 10 minutes later your jars are prepped. There was no mention of what to do with the lids and rings, so I put them in the pot too.
Accidental Locavore Filling the CannerWhile the jars were heating, I prepped the beans and made the brine with the easy recipe that came with the canner. I halved it, since it turned out that the massive bag o’ beans I picked was only a pound and a half. You then stuff the beans into the jars, one jar at a time, with a sprig of dill and a garlic clove. I looked longingly at some nice cilantro but decided to play it straight this time. Add the brine, wipe the rims and place back in the machine. Simple enough.

Accidental Locavore Dilly BeansOnce all the jars are back in the machine, you add water to cover and place the diffuser rack over the jars. Lid goes back on, and machine gets turned to “canning”. When the water boils, set the timer for 10 minutes and all the hard work is done.
After the time is up, you carefully remove the lid, and release the water through the spigot on the side. If you were stupid like me, and forgot to remove the plug to the spigot, no worries, a pair of tongs pulled that right out! When the water has run out, you simply lift the jars out onto a dishtowel or cutting board and let them cool for 12 hours. Et voilà! The whole thing took about an hour and a half, but I’m sure that once I get more accustomed to it, it will go even faster (it did). A week or so later, the beans taste great and I’ve already made another batch!

Accidental Locavore  Jars of Dilly BeansMy verdict: It’s going to make an avid canner/pickler out of me! It’s really easy to use and because it’s all preset, most of the worries have vanished. In addition to the booklets that came with it, and because I’m such a newbie at this, I was referring to the canning book by Ball, the Complete Book of Home Preserving, that my cousin gave me a couple of years ago, for technical questions and terms. So, if you’ve got the space and are yearning to can (Peter, I’m talking to you), this is your tool! Just be sure to have the companion book because you’ll have questions and it has all the answers. Big thanks to Ball for sending the machine. I’m going to have to find a more accessible place to put it as I’ll be using it a lot!